By Jeremy Dibbell
One of the things I’ll try to keep track of here at The Beehive is new and recent publications based on MHS collections. The only promise I can make about this is that I won’t be able to be comprehensive (I try to keep a pretty close eye on these things, but it would be a vast overstatement of my abilities to suggest that I could catch them all), so if you’re a current or former MHS fellow or researcher, please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with information on your work and I’ll be happy to mention it here as time and space permit.
Bryan Waterman, associate professor of English at NYU, was a 2007-08 Andrew W. Mellon research fellow at the MHS. His article “Elizabeth Whitman’s Disappearence and Her ‘Disappointment'” appears in the April 2009 issue of William & Mary Quarterly (3d Series, Volume LXVI, Number 2, pp. 325-364. Waterman’s research at the MHS included examinations of the diary and correspondence of Jeremy Belknap (who played a fascinating role in the dissemination of the Whitman story), the Nathan Webb diary, and other collections. Elizabeth Whitman, the subject of the article, is best known as the inspiration for Hannah Webster Foster’s 1797 The Coquette; Waterman explores the different, competing versions of Whitman’s story (including Foster’s, Belknap’s, and others).
Incidentally, Waterman is also the co-editor of the current special issue of the e-journal Common-place, “Who Reads an Early American Book?” His preface provides some background information on the Whitman story and the continuing vitality of both The Coquette and its historical inspiration.
Also in this issue of Common-place, two MHS connections are present, in a feature in which historians discuss books revelant to America that they teach or study. Current NEH long-term fellow Carolyn Eastman, assistant professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, recommends Alexandre Exquemelin’s Bucaniers of America, while James Sidbury, professor of History also at UT-Austin, goes for John Kizell’s “Apology for For the Conduct of John Kezell And His associates Occasioned By the Strictures And Denunciations by the Rev. Daniel Coker In His Journall Letters and Informations In the fourth Annual Report,” a manuscript pamphlet in the Ebenezer Burgess papers here at MHS.